MICE Affairs Media Group, News Bureau, Special Feature 7th June 2023
A conversation with Rajeev Kale - President & Country Head, Holidays, MICE, Visa - Thomas Cook India on the company’s growing MICE business as well as Melbourne as an exciting MICE destination.
What is Thomas Cook’s approach towards MICE and how has this segment been performing?
We have witnessed brisk business from our volume driver MICE business - with significant growth of 711% in FY23 Vs last financial year and 85% recovery in FY23 Vs pre pandemic (FY 20). Our robust forward pipeline reflects a strong and growing appetite for MICE travel in 2023 and beyond.
At Thomas Cook India, we look at MICE as an ART (Art of Care, Art of Cuisine and Art of Celebration) and believe in creating experiences through continuous innovation and passion. Our objective is to ensure that all our clients, stakeholders, and guests have the most memorable experiences possible.
We start discussions with our MICE Corporates for potential MICE destinations more than a year in advance and they then launch their incentive schemes for the next financial year.
Thomas Cook has secured several incentive groups to Melbourne. Why is Melbourne a preferred destination for corporate and incentive travel?
I am delighted that Australia is back on the radar and we have managed groups for Melbourne - across sectors including insurance, manufacturing and chemicals.
With a mix of Victorian
The destination also offers a wide range of hotels, meeting, and conference venues for hosting events. Australia's fully digitised visa application process with no biometrics and quicker processing time is convenient for corporates as they are empowered by technology.
Additionally, hotel staff and local residents are friendly, helpful and also very welcoming.
Melbourne is a vibrant and buzzing city with an abundance of exclusive experiences. The regions of Victoria are short drive from Melbourne city giving the incentive traveller easy access to iconic experiences like hot air ballooning over vineyards, helicopter rides over dramatic coastlines, witnessing the phenomenon of the Phillip Island Nature Parks’ penguin parade and so much more. What are some key Melbourne and Victorian experiences that Thomas Cook recommends for incentive groups travelling to Melbourne?
With support from the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB), Thomas Cook India has curated unique experiences as per preference of the corporates, such as helicopter rides with 360° panoramic views and shopping at the famous Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne with a customised food truck experience. We have also curated gastronomic experiences such as cocktail dinners at the hallowed Melbourne Cricket Ground otherwise known as the MCG, with Australian cricket legends.
With corporates seeking luxury experiences, Thomas Cook has successfully managed premium groups with stays at luxury hotels like Crown Metropol in Melbourne and stretch limousine drives.
In light of sporting events like the cricket bonanza in Australia, we managed corporate groups of 100-1000 travellers.
Melbourne is known to offer some of the world’s best food and drink with its world-class restaurants and cafes. Indian restaurants are widely available across the city and Victoria’s regions making the destination great for Indian incentive groups. How has Thomas Cook catered to this common request from corporates in Melbourne?
Indian cuisine is always preferred by MICE corporates travelling from India and there is ample availability of Indian restaurants in Melbourne. Also, the provision of special visa category for meal coordinators enables chefs to accompany the group from India to provide authentic Indian food for large scale events.
MCB has a tailor-made approach towards creating memorable incentive programs. Partnering with the city’s leading business event suppliers, MCB’s dedicated international incentive teams have a host of imaginative ideas to meet every incentive traveller’s brief. What role has the Melbourne Convention Bureau played in Thomas Cook’s incentive groups?
MCB leads the acquisition and delivery of national and global business events for Melbourne and regional Victoria. It offers financial support as per group sizes along with complimentary offers for the group; and also advises, plans and coordinates experiences, activities and sightseeing options for MICE groups.
Will Melbourne remain a priority destination for Thomas Cook MICE going forward?
Melbourne will continue to be a priority MICE destination for Thomas Cook as it offers all amenities to host top level MICE groups and we are expecting a robust pipeline of groups this year.
Connect with the Melbourne Convention Bureau for guidance and assistance in hosting incentive business in Melbourne.